Whether you’ve had wood floors for a long time or just discovered them under old carpeting, you’ve probably considered refinishing them or looking into repair and restoration. Waxing and/or buffing often provide a good shine, but refinishing the floor is usually the only way to regain the original richness and beauty of the wood. Refinishing is hard work and professional equipment is necessary
Reduce the impact of VOCs while refinishing your hardwood floors by taking steps to maximize ventilation and direct VOCs outdoors. Keep windows and doors open as much as possible for ventilation, and use fans to blow fumes outside.
Dustless refinishing is the process of sanding the floor using dust containment systems. Dustless refinishing should not be mistaken with a dust free refinishing. A dustless system will contain anywhere from 60% to 90% of the dust that a traditional refinishing will output. The dustless containment system is actually a vacuum with various filtration devices. All the sanding tools will be attached to the dustless system by hose instead of cloth dust bags. The dustless system is recommended where sealing certain areas with plastic is a challenge. The estimator will be able to determine if a dustless refinishing is necessary or not, as the dustless system will add to the cost and the duration of the refinishing.
Wood sanding is the process of removing the existing coating layers and stain down to the bare wood using sanding machines. Floor sanding is necessary when changing the color of the wood or when the hardwood has signs of wear, gouges, scratches and other types of damage that cannot be removed by buffing the floor. The first step in sanding the floor is to determine if the floor is thick enough to withstand a complete refinishing.
The estimator will check for signs of previous sanding jobs, exposed nails, and openings that can reveal the thickness of the floor. The condition of the wood will determine the number of times the floor will be sanded to achieve the desired quality. The sanding will start with a rough sanding paper that will remove all the imperfections followed by one or two finer grits, necessary for smoothing the surface. After the initial sanding, buffing the floor is required to remove the sanding marks. In some cases, wood filler will be used to cover spaces between boards. The wood filler will be applied before and during the refinishing process but it is only recommended on floors that are installed on hard surfaces. If the floor doesn’t have a solid subfloor, the movement of the floor will crack the wood filler exposing uneven spaces between the boards.
Staining is the most important step of a complete floor refinishing in Schiller Park. The complexity of staining a floor varies on the color of the floor as any of the darker stains will reveal more of the sanding imperfections, versus lighter ones. To prevent that, additional sanding and preparation of the floor is required. One of the most important steps is popping the wood grains by washing the exposed wood with water. An even wash will result in an even stain application. The water washing will remove most of the wood sanding imperfections. The stain can be applied by hand, pad or with a floor buffer. In all three cases it is important that the stain is applied evenly and the excess stain wiped off.
After the stain is dry the floor has to be covered with the desired finish. The customer has the option of choosing between a water base, oil base or acid cured finish. When applying a water base finish the stain has to be completely dry and the compatibility between the stain and the finish needs to be checked. The water base finish has the advantage of a low odor finish and it is recommended in households with children and expecting mothers where the other finishes can result in health issues. Also, a natural finish sealer may be applied before the water base finish. Buffing between the coats and a minimum of three coats of water base is recommended for a quality result. The oil base polyurethane and the acid cured finishes are recommended in high traffic areas especially in kitchen areas where spills can actually stain and damage the water base finish. At least 2 coats are necessary for a quality result. The strong odor will require a little more attention in preparing the floor for the application process. If working in apartment buildings the odor should be concealed in the apartments and proper ventilation should be used to stop the odor from getting into the building hallway and into the neighboring apartments. Notifying the neighbors is always recommended a few days before the application.
Recoating the floor is recommended when superficial scratches are present for maintenance purposes. The flooring professional will buff the floor with a fine grit sanding screen to remove the fine scratches and to prepare the surface for the new coat of finish. When recoating a floor two important things have to be determined: the type of wood cleaner used by the homeowner and what type of finish was applied last time and how long ago. If determined that oily products like Murphy’s oil was used, then the floor has to be treated and cleaned before buffing, otherwise, the new finish will not adhere to the surface and it will peel off in a matter of one year or less. The type of finish is important only if the floor was coated less than two years ago. If less than two years have passed from the last application, then the same product must be used, otherwise, a reaction between the new coat and the existing coat will damage the floor finish.
Using oil soap to clean the floor will result in an oily build up that will prevent a new coat of varnish to adhere to the existing finish. For preventing all these issues, the floor will be washed with a mix of water and a special degreaser. The process will be repeated multiple times until the buildup is removed. A new chemical will be used to remove the degreaser and prepare the finish for the new finish. At this point, the floor can be buffed or washed with a chemical that has the same effect as buffing. The floor will be vacuumed, wiped and the coating will be applied. The process of using only chemicals when recoating is called a Sandless Refinishing.
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